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Blog Tours Excerpts

Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt from Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

As I look forward to the end of the semester and a summer of being an unemployed college graduate (oop), there is one thing I’m actually very much anticipating: a real and true break, and more time for reading for pleasure than I’ve had in a very, very, very long time. I always feel quite honored when I’m invited on blog tours, but I won’t even lie, seeing the email for this one and reading the author bio to discover that the name Asha Bromfield was so familiar to me because of Riverdale really had me fumbling my fingers across my phone screen to sign up. But while being a fan of Riverdale may have initially drawn me in, it was Bromfield’s stunning language and her commanding, challenging story that took my breath away.

I’m so delighted to be able to share an excerpt from Asha Bromfield’s debut novel Hurricane Summer, and if you’re looking for a powerful, moving, and thought-provoking story to dive into, this should be at the top of your TBR. While I haven’t been able to pick it up quite yet, I can’t wait to, and I know I will be struck as tangibly by it as its recent readers said they have been.

Read on for more information about Hurricane Summer and a sneak peek at its first few pages!

Publication Date: May 4, 2021 (Available Now!)

Synopsis: In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the heart of Jamaica, and into the soul of a girl coming to terms with her family, and herself, set against the backdrop of a hurricane.

Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.

When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.

In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise―all in the midst of an impending hurricane.

Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic―and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.

Categories
ARCs Contemporary Reviews Romance

ARC Review: Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★   

I received an advanced copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for providing this galley!

Publication: May 4, 2021 (Out Now!!! Buy Here!!!)

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis: A reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school’s resident bad boy. How do you make one month last a lifetime?

Karina Ahmed has a plan. Keep her head down, get through high school without a fuss, and follow her parents’ rules—even if it means sacrificing her dreams. When her parents go abroad to Bangladesh for four weeks, Karina expects some peace and quiet. Instead, one simple lie unravels everything.

Karina is my girlfriend.

Tutoring the school’s resident bad boy was already crossing a line. Pretending to date him? Out of the question. But Ace Clyde does everything right—he brings her coffee in the mornings, impresses her friends without trying, and even promises to buy her a dozen books (a week) if she goes along with his fake-dating facade. Though Karina agrees, she can’t help but start counting down the days until her parents come back.

T-minus twenty-eight days until everything returns to normal—but what if Karina no longer wants it to?

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Anticipated Releases of 2021 Recommendations

Our 8 Can’t-Wait YA Releases of April 2021

It’s that time of the year (semester) again where things naturally fall off for us here as school ramps up. But we remain absolutely dedicated to this year-long project, dammit! So rather than tell you what we’re anticipating this April (since April is, well, over) here are eight releases from April 2021 that we can’t wait to get our hands on and read once our lives calm down. And very, very soon, we’ll have May picks comin’ at ya.

Missed our previous months’ picks? Check them out below!

January // February // March


YA Releases of April 2021

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold #1) by Ciannon Smart

Publication Date: April 20, 2021

Iraya has only known life from the confines of a cell. Jazmyne may be the Queen’s daughter, but she refuses to die to strengthen her mother’s power.

In this Jamaican-inspired debut fantasy novel, two enemy witches must unite in a deadly and tenuous alliance to take down a common enemy. But once they get a taste for revenge, they may find it’s sweeter than it looks. And they will stop at nothing to win this game.

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Publication Date: April 20, 2021

In this enthralling historical mystery set in 1490s Korea, during the Joseon Dynasty, a young girl returns to her quiet hometown to find her father after he vanishes during an investigation into the disappearance of 13 girls.

Hwani has little to no memory of what happened the day she and her sister went missing and were discovered unconscious near a brutal crime scene. Her family fled their town soon after, trying to outrun the terrifying memories of the incident—and the man in the white mask.

But when Hwani’s detective father disappears while investigating cases strikingly similar to his daughters’ own, Hwani must return to her hometown to find her father. And she may find the key to the case was lying hidden in her own buried memories the entire time.

Categories
ARCs Contemporary Reviews Romance

ARC Review: Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★

I received an advanced copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Delacorte Press for providing this galley!

Publication: April 6, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis: As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, with writing as crisp as a freshly baked baguette, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Sixteen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

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ARCs Reviews

ARC Review: She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I received an advanced copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Henry Holt & Company for providing this galley!

Publication: March 30, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller

Synopsis: An electric romance set against a rebel art scene sparks lethal danger for two girls in this expertly plotted YA thriller. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.

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Discussions

Discussion: Let’s Talk Adult Readers of YA

We are long overdue for a discussion post, and with the semester now underway, I knew that bringing up a discussion topic would be the best and easiest way to push out some content. And honestly, this is a topic that has been on my mind a lot since this past fall semester when I wrote my Senior Capstone paper for my English degree on the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness and the impact of the YA genre.

As someone hoping to go into a career in publishing children’s literature, book blogging has been a really fantastic way for me to stay aware of trends, opinions, readers’ wants and needs, and to track success. But I started reviewing YA novels in 2014, when I was about 15 years old, aka solidly in the target audience for YA novels. I’m now 22, and obviously still reviewing, and as I’ve gotten older and more critical of my YA reads, I think it’s time we have a serious conversation as a book blogging community about what it means to read and review Young Adult literature when you’ve aged out of the market.

Because when I look back at my old reviews, I find emotion. I find myself reacting first and foremost as a reader. I listed what I loved, I listed what I hated, and I rated my reads based nearly solely on enjoyment. When I scroll through my Goodreads shelves, I find 5-starred books that I don’t think I would touch with a 10-foot pole now, at my big age. As I gradually began reviewing and interacting with reviewers more, I began to shift my tone and focus, but mostly, I just grew up. I learned more about what it meant to critically assess literature, and that began to reflect in my reviews. And yet, even at 15/16/17, I noticed an alarming trend: YA book bloggers are mostly adults.

Categories
ARCs Reviews

ARC Review: Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★

I received an advanced copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Wendy Lamb Books for providing this galley!

Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: A lyrical and heartfelt collection by an award-winning writer that connects the lives of young people from small towns in Alaska and the American west. Each story is unique, yet universal.

In this book, the impact of wildfire, a wayward priest, or a mysterious disappearance ricochet across communities, threading through stories. Here, ordinary actions such as ice skating or going to church reveal hidden truths. One choice threatens a lifelong friendship. Siblings save each other. Rescue and second chances are possible, and so is revenge.

On the surface, it seems that nothing ever happens in these towns. But Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shows that underneath that surface, teenagers’ lives blaze with fury, with secrets, and with love so strong it burns a path to the future. 

Categories
Anticipated Releases of 2021 Recommendations

Our 12 Most Anticipated YA Releases of March 2021

2021 is moving at lightning speed already, and here we are in March. Again. But another month means it’s time for us to spotlight our most anticipated and the most anticipated YA releases of March 2021! With these YA books on your TBR or tucked away in your shelves, we guarantee this March will improve upon that last one.

Missed our previous months’ picks? Check them out below!

January // February


YA Releases of March 2021

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardguo

Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Grishaverse fans, rejoice! Yet another installment will be arriving at your doorstep, and it couldn’t come at a better time—just a few weeks after publication the much-anticipated Shadow & Bone series will be hitting Netflix and, we hope immediately, your screens.

But first, there’s some business to take care of in the explosive finale to the King of Scars duology, Bardugo’s latest Grisha effort that focuses on the beloved Nikolai Lantsov.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Good Girl, Bad Blood may have already hit shelves in its native UK, but we can’t pass up a chance to remind you that it’s about to hit our own waters in the US this month.

If you haven’t hopped on the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder train yet, it’s time to board. We recently did, and we can vouch for just how solid and engrossing a read it was. We may be about to get our hands on #2, but #3 and #4 feel torturously far away.

Pip may have thought she laid down her detective skills after releasing a podcast detailing her crime-solving ways, but as it turns out, there’s always a new case to solve. And this one will hit close to home. Again.

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday #5: I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin

“A raging thunderstorm of a novel with velvet-rich prose that opens all the wounds of girlhood: haunting, heartbreaking, and at points utterly terrifying, you’ll feel this book deep within your bones long after it strikes.” – Julia Lynn Rubin, author of Trouble Girls

Now that our beloved Wednesday Books has revealed the covers for their Fall 2021 titles, we have even more of a reason to be hungry for Hannah Capin’s next release, I Am Margaret Moore. Foul Is Fair is one of my favorite books in recent memory, and I was so lucky to take part in the blog tour for its release and to get to ask Capin some of my burning questions about her glittering, glinting Macbeth retelling. Her prose absolutely sung, felt almost tangible in its weight and thrilling beauty. And I Am Margaret Moore looks like it’ll deliver on some of those same qualities—especially since Foul Is Fair will be re-published as the re-packaged Golden Boys Beware in tandem with this novel’s publication.

Ghosts? Check. Vengeful girls? Check. A brutal, likely toxic environment now clouded by murder and mystery? Check. The inherent complexity of girlhood? Check. While I could go on and on about all the reasons why this book intrigues me so deeply, I’ll let you find out for yourself why this haunting, brilliant, complex novel already has me wrapped around its finger. I don’t think I’ve been quite this hungry for a release in my life.

Read on for the synopsis and more information on I Am Margaret Moore‘s publication!

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Tags/Memes

WRAP-UP: The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge

Well, the time has come to check in on the New Year’s Resoultion Reading Challenge, and I have to admit: this ended up being far more successful than I anticipated. Even when I didn’t read the books I had selected for myself, I found I was achieving reads in many of these categories anyway. This challenge was in the back of my mind every time I picked up a book this year, and for that reason alone I think I might find myself doing more challenges in the future: it really did keep me motivated! But even so, it was not a total success: something I also anticipated. And it pains me to admit I just couldn’t finish something. But let’s go through it!

Thank you again to The Corner of Laura for creating such a fantastic challenge to kick off 2021!

Check out our New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge post first, then come back here and see how it all shaped up!

The Challenge

EXERCISE: A BOOK WITH 500 PAGES OR MORE (IN ANY EDITION). BONUS CHALLENGE—READ A BOOK WITH 800 PAGES OR MORE.

So, as I anticipated, I did not in fact read Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman. In fact, I didn’t even touch it. Oops. I read a few ARCs that were over 500 pages because of the way the system was loading the page numbers, but none of those were actually over 500 pages, so I definitely cannot count it. And no physical book over 500 pages was in my hands this past month or so. Oops. Again. But don’t worry: I’ll be back for this by the end of the year.


LEARN A NEW SKILL: A BOOK FROM A GENRE YOU NEVER USUALLY READ. BONUS CHALLENGE—BOOK FROM A GENRE OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE THAT WAS PUBLISHED IN 2020/21.

I did in fact read In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. I actually read it all last night, as my final push to complete one more book for this challenge, and also because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. And not for good reason.

I really, really did not like this book. You can read my Goodreads review here (though beware of significant spoilers) but I couldn’t move past how poor the portrayal of illness was in this book. It was increasingly frustrating, and this book enraged me the way Me Before You did. What others saw as moving, I just loathed. Stepping out of my comfort zone backfired, y’all.

Categories
Mystery Reviews

Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Synopsis: For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn’t add up, and a girl who’s determined to find the real killer–but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

Categories
Recommendations

18 Can’t-Miss YA Books for Fans of Riverdale

Confession: I love Riverdale. Not in an ironic way, not in a casual way, not in an “it’s objectively bad but fun to watch” way. I genuinely, truly love Riverdale, and think it’s one of the greatest television shows ever made. It operates on so many levels, is so intricately plotted, and if I even began to get into the Jarchie Longcon and the long, storied past behind the show and of creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, it would derail this whole post. But if you know me at all, even a little, you know all this. So this post feels a bit inevitable.

No matter where you stand on the epic highs and lows of Riverdale and Archie Comics, one thing is for sure: it knows how to deliver. It’s so easy for Riverdale to get its claws in you and leave you anxious for more because you never really know for certain where it’s going. If you’re looking for more content that promises the same timeless, retro aesthetic, romances as complicated as Archie and Veronica and Betty and Jughead’s, or you’re just looking for a really good mystery (or two) to solve, here are 18 YA books all fans of Riverdale need to pick up next. With Riverdale‘s seven-year timeskip about to hit, if you’re itching to spend more time in their teen years, these reads will keep you there.


Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin

Trouble Girls may not publish until June, but it needs to find a spot on your TBR ASAP. A reimagined Thelma & Louise marketed with the neon aesthetic of Riverdale, how can you pass up this thrilling, energetic joy ride of a book?

When best friends Trixie and Lux take off for a weekend getaway out of their dead-end small town, they never imagine that just one night will transform them into wanted fugitives and unexpected poster children for the #MeToo movement. As their journey takes increasingly dangerous turn after turn, and with the cops hot on their heels, they’ll discover that the only ones they can rely on are each other.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

What is there to say about Sadie that has not already been said? What more praise could we possibly lavish on this breathtaking, true-crime-podcast-boom inspired book? Probably not much, but if you’ve somehow missed out on this one, we once again urge you to read it. Now. Jughead would.

After Sadie’s sister Mattie is found dead, a botched police investigation makes Sadie her sister’s only hope. She sets out to track down the killer and make him pay for what he did, and she’s willing to risk it all to find out the truth.

When radio personality West McCray catches wind of Sadie’s story, he begins an investigative, Serial-like podcast into her disappearance. Tracing her journey to bring her sister’s killer to justice, West is determined to find Sadie—before it may be too late.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Like Riverdale, The Hazel Wood appears to be one thing on the surface, until it suddenly takes you somewhere else entirely.

When Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of dark, instant-cult-classic fairy tales, dies suddenly at her estate, The Hazel Wood, Alice imagines her life can’t get much worse—until her mom is stolen away by one of her grandmother’s fictional creations and whisked off to a new world.

Warned to stay away from the estate, going there may be Alice’s mom’s only help. With the help of a Hinterland superfan, Alice will finally venture into her grandmother’s world of nightmares.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

One boy. Two girls. We’ve heard this story before, right? But never quite like this. Wicked, spellbinding, and begging for its secrets to be solved, this book is everything a Riverdale fan could want and more.

Midnight is caught between two girls: fiery, mysterious Wink, and beautiful, manipulative queen bee Poppy. Something happened, and someone knows the truth. But someone, too, is lying. This spindly book keeps its secrets close to its chest until finally arriving at its terrible, explosive end.